East Fife 1
Ryan Duncan came off the substitutes’ bench to earn Peterhead a point in a 1-1 draw with visitors East Fife at Balmoor.
The Blue Toon’s last home game before Christmas was in danger of being a fruitless one until on-loan Aberdeen youngster Duncan headed home with only a vital defensive interception by the Fifers then preventing a win.
Simon Ferry returned to the hosts’ starting line-up in place of Hamish Ritchie however the player/ coach’s day was to end early with Peterhead also having to cope with the withdrawal of Andrew McCarthy before the break.
After a cagey start the visitors had the first chance on six minutes when Aaron Dunsmore swung over a cross from the right and Kyle Connell was only inches out from sliding in and turning the ball home.
Daniel Higgins headed over the home bar shortly afterwards with Peterhead moving up the park to claim their first corner on 10 minutes however no danger threatened from Grant Savoury’s dead ball.
With the wind swirling openings were at a premium with Kevin Smith almost benefitting from East Fife’s pressing when he was free at the back post however he could not get an effort on target.
With 27 minutes gone Ferry had to be replaced by Ritchie after suffering a back injury and the Blue Toon quickly adjusted and came within inches of grabbing the opening goal within a minute of the change with a low drive from McCarthy that flashed just wide.
A minute later McCarthy picked out Russell McLean with a cross however the striker headed over.
On 34 minutes Peterhead came close again when Savoury cracked a 20-yard effort past Jude Smith only to see his effort hit the inside of a post and bounce to safety.
A second midfield injury blow hit Peterhead two minutes later when McCarthy limped out of the action with Niah Payne coming on in his place.
Eight minutes from the break East Fife almost grabbed a goal in stylish fashion when Connell curled a delicate effort towards Brett Long’s goal from 20 yards with everyone in blue colours delighted when the ball slipped wide.
The first 45 minutes ended goalless however Connell had better luck three minutes into the restart when he saw off the attention of David Wilson to end a lightning break from East Fife with a lovely clipped finish.
Savoury did his best to drag Peterhead level six minutes later when he skipped past a couple of challenges however his drive from the edge of the box rose over the bar.
The one-time Celtic youngster continued to take his team up the pitch and on 62 minutes he latched onto a pass from Flynn Duffy only to send a shot curling over Smith’s goal.
Home manager McInally immediately made his final change with Duncan coming on for Wilson with the young Don quickly creating chaos in the visiting defence with an in-swinging corner and then teeing up Ritchie for a shot that was blocked.
Duncan more than announced his presence 16 minutes from time when he drew Peterhead level when he popped up at the back post to nod home a cross from Payne.
McInally’s side quickly started looking for a winner with Josh Mulligan surging forward before firing a shot over.
It looked like a second for the hosts had arrived on 86 minutes when a Savoury cross reached McLean six yards out and just as the number nine was about to pull the trigger Dunsmore slid in and took the ball off his toes.
Peterhead – Long, Wilson (Duncan 62), Jason Brown, McDonald, Ferry (Ritchie 27), Mulligan, McCarthy (Payne 36), Scott Brown, Duffy, McLean, Savoury
Unused substitutes – Cameron, Strachan, Jordon Brown, Wilson (G/k)
Jim McInally post- match – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1qa-pBF5d8
Josh Mulligan post-match – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLeBTezXk4Y